Ravens use luck, staunch defense to beat Houston

January 15, 2012 | Drew Forrester


I’ll call it like I saw it and you can either agree or comment through your purple colored glasses.

Sunday’s thriller over the Texans was the luckiest big win in Ravens history.

Yes, the Ravens were lucky to win on Sunday.  And that’s a fact.

But there’s a saying — better to be lucky than good looking…or something like that. Luck often plays a role in life – and in sports – and some games and days you get the good part of it and sometimes you get the bad part.

A win-is-a-win, particularly when it means you’re moving on to the penultimate game of the season with a chance to play for the world championship, but you won’t see a Ravens team get dominated on the line of scrimmage like they did on Sunday and still find a way to triumph when the final whistle blew.

But we’ll take it.

A thorough review of the victory points more to the Texans inexperience in post-season above anything else.  The game hinged and changed on four plays, all of which went in the Ravens favor.

1) The Jacoby Jones muffed punt in the first quarter — after Baltimore went 3-and-out on their first series — was the early blow-to-the-jewels.

2) T.J. Yates throwing a wobby pass that would have made Tim Tebow proud later on in the opening period helped open the floodgates to the tune of a 17-3 Ravens lead.

3) Gary Kubiak eschewing the smart play (a punt) and going with the gamble (a 50-yard field goal that fell short) in the 3rd quarter when his defense had been slapping the Ravens offense around for the better of 30 minutes was a backbreaker.

4) And the icing was provided again by Yates, who forgot that 1:55 is an eternity and threw a pass up for grabs in the waning moments of the 4th quarter with the Ravens ahead 20-13.  That Ed Reed interception, while not officially the game-decider, was certainly the nail that nearly drove the coffin shut.

The Ravens don’t make those four mistakes in playoff games, which is why John Harbaugh’s team is headed to their 2nd AFC title game in four years next Sunday in New England.

The Texans looked like they team they are — a good, young football team with playoff acne that a teenager would cry about.

Lots of people around town will say this ALL week:  “If the Ravens play like that in New England next Sunday, they’ll get blown out.”

You’re going to hear that more than you hear “I don’t go to Camden Yards anymore…”

It’s all you’ll hear.

And those people will be right.  IF – and that’s IF in all CAPS – the Ravens turn in a stinker like that on offense next Sunday, they’ll lose by 25 points.

But they have a week to get it straightened out.

And while playing in New England isn’t the easiest of tasks, I can only suspect that the likes of Lewis, Suggs and Reed will man-up and put forth a yeoman’s effort at Gillette Stadium.  The offense, of course, might be a different story.  That the Texans stifled Baltimore most of the afternoon on Sunday shouldn’t be a complete surprise.  They have a very good defensive unit.  But little things like not being able to put the game away with three chances from the 1-yard line in the 3rd quarter and not having the ability to run out the clock after Reed’s late-game pick are bound to be areas of concern for the Ravens this week.  That’s how you lose games against great teams like New England.  So cleaning up those blemishes is paramount for Harbaugh, Cam Cameron and the rest of the purple offense.

Sunday’s win over the Texans was more about Houston’s failings than Baltimore’s successes.

But don’t let that fool you.

The Ravens are moving on and the Texans aren’t.

And really, that’s all that matters today.

Better to be lucky than good looking.